The Ravens finally picked up their first win of the season in Pittsburgh. Now, can they build on it and get their second victory? Even though the hapless Browns are coming to town, we know things are never easy in the AFC North. Cleveland always plays the Ravens tough, and this week’s Baltimore wide receiver corps would quite possibly be laughed off the field by even CFL secondaries. Here’s hoping they can continue to pound the rock, play solid defense, and get to 2-3.
Here are this week’s key stats, quotes, and more, in the Crab Bag.
KNOW THY ENEMY
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert on K Justin Tucker:
“It’s hard to think of a more money kicker than Tucker. He came up huge again on Thursday [at Pittsburgh], making all three of his attempts, including a 52-yard game-winner.”
ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley on K Justin Tucker:
“Justin Tucker did more than save the season Thursday night, when his 52-yard field goal lifted the Ravens to a 23-20 overtime win and allowed them to avoid an 0-4 start. He earned the title of the game’s ultimate closer. Consider this: Tucker is 12-of-12 on field goal attempts to either tie or put his team ahead in the fourth quarter or overtime, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Of his eight game-winners, five have come from 44 yards or longer. It comes down to having swagger. Tucker loves performing on the big stage, whether it’s getting up on stage at a concert or parodying Matthew McConaughey in a car commercial. It was only two years ago when Tucker hit a 61-yarder with 38 seconds left on Monday Night Football [to beat Detroit].”
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees on DT Brandon Williams:
“The thing of it is, I think he goes overshadowed. We’ve been pretty good against the run, and a lot of that’s due to him inside. I think he’s having a great year, and unfortunately, he’s getting overshadowed by the yards that are being put up on us in the passing game and us not winning. But I think the guy is having a tremendous year at nose guard. He has really been, I think, a dominant force inside for us.”
Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman on what stands out about TE Maxx Williams and TE Nick Boyle stepping up as rookies:
“I think that [it is] just their overall maturity, the way they’re handling themselves. Assignment-wise, they’re doing a very good job. Everybody makes a mistake along the way, and the good part about it is when they have made mistakes, you don’t see it happen again. They’re two very mature guys. They have a very professional attitude – that’s part of what we have here. They have good leadership here to be able to see how it’s done both in good [times] and now through some adversity. As I’ve said many times, we like them, and we really love coaching them. They’re going to develop and be good players for us.”
QB Joe Flacco on if he finds himself being a more vocal leader with OLB Terrell Suggs out for the season:
“I don’t know. It’s tough to say I’m more vocal or less vocal. I am what I am. My biggest thing is to keep confidence up and go out there and lead by keeping my head up and keeping my chest out and showing guys that I still believe we’re a good football team, and that I believe in you, I believe in you, I believe in you. (points and motions hand) We’re doing things right. We just have to put it all together. I think we feel that way. We just have to make sure that we continue to feel that so that we’re not going into these games with our head held low and expectations not as high as they should be.”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Maxx Williams
Your grandfather, Robert, was selected No. 2 overall by Chicago in the 1951 Draft. Your dad, Brian, played 11 seasons on the Giants’ O-line. Was it always in the plan for you to play in the NFL?
“My parents didn’t pressure me to do anything. It was all my choice, and I’ve been around football since I was born. For me, it’s all I’ve really known. All I’ve ever dreamed about was being like my dad. I’m just fortunate enough that it worked out for me.”
What was your first job?
“My first job ever is the NFL. The National Football League is my first job ever.”
Your parents, Brian (football) and Rochelle (volleyball), your uncle, Ron Goetz Jr. (football), and your grandfather, Ron Goetz Sr. (football), were all athletes at Minnesota before you. Who’s the best Gopher athlete in the family?
“We always say my mom is the most athletic. It’s always been like that. Mom has been the best.”
At 21, you’re the youngest member of a very young tight end group. How much have you grown since being drafted in April?
“You get thrown right into the fire. I moved across the country at 21 by myself. I’m living by myself, supporting myself and trying to learn a whole new system being in the NFL, where everyone is great. A lot comes at you quickly, so you’ve got to learn on the fly and roll with the punches a little bit. I can’t really grade myself on that one, but I’d say it has worked out pretty good so far.”
TE Crockett Gillmore said you’re “definitely a Raven.” What does that mean to you?
“We’re just guys that love to work and love football. We go out there every day, we try to work harder than anyone else in the NFL, and we love doing it. This is what we all love to do. That’s why we’re here. We love football. We love going out there, getting better and going out on Sundays and having fun. At Minnesota, coach [Jerry] Kill’s saying was to show up every day with your hardhat and lunch pail and go to work. I’m not going to say our practices were as long [as they are] here, but with coach Kill, we worked hard, and we were a tough-nosed football team in Minnesota, running the ball a lot.”
What is your favorite … Sport other than football?
“Team – you play football for the team, 11-on-11.”
Athlete growing up?
“I will have to go with ‘Breaking Bad.’”
Which Raven … Is the fastest?
“Steve Smith [Sr.]”
Is the strongest?
Is the smartest?
Is the best athlete?
“Steve Smith [Sr.]. What he’s doing at his age is unbelievable.”
Would make the best coach?
HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections
Ravens general manager/executive vice president and Hall of Fame TE Ozzie Newsome played 13 seasons in Cleveland, recording 662 catches and 7,980 yards – the most in Browns history. He then held positions as a scout, assistant to the head coach/offense/pro personnel, and director of pro personnel before moving to Baltimore with the franchise as VP of player personnel in 1996.
The Ravens’ staff is comprised of many people who were invited to join the franchise when it moved from Cleveland: Sr. VP of public and community relations Kevin Byrne, Sr. director of football video operations Jon Dubé, Sr. VP of operations Bob Eller, VP of IT Bill Jankowski, Sr. VP of football admin. Pat Moriarty and head certified athletic trainer Mark Smith.
Ravens senior personnel assistant George Kokinis was the Browns’ general manager for part of 2008. Kokinis originally began his NFL career as an operations intern with the Browns in 1991 before moving to Baltimore with the franchise in 1996.
Baltimore director of pro personnel Vincent Newsome played the final two seasons (1991-92) of his career for the Browns. He then spent three seasons as a special assignment scout in Cleveland before becoming the Ravens’ West area scout in 1996.
Browns head coach Mike Pettine began his NFL coaching career in Baltimore as a coaching and video assistant in 2002. He was also a defensive quality control coach (2003), defensive assistant (2004) and outside linebackers coach (2005-08) for the Ravens.
Browns running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery held the same title in Baltimore from 2008-13. Browns D-line coach Anthony Weaver was a second-round draft choice by the Ravens in 2002. He went on to play four seasons (2002-05) in Baltimore. Browns strength and conditioning coach Paul Ricci served nine seasons (1999-2008) as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Ravens.
Baltimore special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg was the special teams coordinator for the Browns from 2001-06, while Ravens defensive line coach Clarence Brooks served in the same role with the Browns in 1999.
Browns LB Paul Kruger (2009-12) was selected by the Ravens (second round) of the 2009 draft. He led Baltimore with 9 sacks in 2012 and earnd a Super Bowl XLVII ring. RB Shaun Draughn played for Baltimore in 2013, and DT Jamie Meder originally signed as a rookie FA with the Ravens in 2014.
Browns senior player personnel associate and Baltimore native Chisom Opara spent the 2004 season as a player personnel assistant with the Ravens after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2003. Browns college area scout Bobby Vega also spent the 2004 summer as a player personnel intern with Baltimore.
LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT